University of Pittsburgh

Deborah L. Brake

Professor of Law

Professor Brake's scholarship explores the theoretical underpinnings of various dimensions of equality law.   She has written articles on retaliation and other negative reactions to equality claims, examining how constitutional and statutory law responds to persons who challenge inequality.   Much of her work explores how legal doctrine fits the realities of lived experience, drawing on social science literature to inform that relationship.   She is a nationally recognized expert and author on Title IX and gender equality in sports, and on gender discrimination more broadly.   Her articles have appeared in journals such as the Minnesota Law Review, William and Mary Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender.   Her article, Leveling Down: When Equality Makes Everyone Worse Off, was selected for the prestigious Yale/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum in 2004.

Professor Brake strives to connect her scholarship to practical legal problems.   She recently coauthored a Supreme Court amicus curiae brief in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., in which the Supreme Court rejected a continuing violation rule for challenging ongoing pay discrimination, and testified before Congress in support of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to reverse that decision.

Before joining the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, Professor Brake was senior counsel at the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C.   She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, and Stanford University.

Education

  • JD, Harvard Law School
  • AB, Stanford University
  • Selected Publications

    Books and Chapters

    • Sport and Masculinity: The Promise and Limits of Title IX, in Masculinities And The Law: A Multidimensional Approach (NYU Press 2012).  
    • The Invisible Pregnant Athlete and the Promise of Title IX, in Reversing Field: Examining Commercialization, Labor, Gender And Race In 21st Century Sport (West Virginia Univ. Press, 2010).
    • Getting in the Game: Title IX and the Women’s Sports Revolution (NYU Press, 2010) (paperback edition, 2012).
    • The Theory Behind the Retaliation Claim and Some Doctrinal Implications, in Retaliation And Whistleblowers: Proceedings Of The New York University 60th Annual Conference On Labor (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2009).

    Scholarly Articles

    Presentations

    • Presenter, “Retaliation in an EEO World,” Annual Law & Society Conference, May 30, 2013.
    • Presenter, “Discrimination Inward and Upward: The Troubling Case of Women Coaches,” Second Annual Symposium of the Indiana Journal of Law & Social Equality, April 5, 2013.
    • Presenter, “Advanced Maternal Age: the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Turns 35,” University of Cincinnati College of Law, Third Annual Conference on Race, Gender and Social Justice (Oct. 26, 2012).
    • Lecture, “Getting (and Staying) in the Game: Title IX and the Women’s Sports Revolution,” University of Pittsburgh 40th Anniversary of Women’s Studies Department and Provost’s Committee on Women’s Concerns Annual Lecture Welcoming New Women Faculty, Oct. 18, 2012.
    • Presenter, “Going Outside Title IX to Keep Coach-Athlete Relationships in Bounds,” National Sport Law Institute, Marquette University, (Oct. 2011).
    • Senior Scholar and Commentator, Sixth Annual Seton Hall Employment and Labor Law Scholars’ Forum, Seton Hall Law School, (Oct. 2011).
    • Presenter, “Wrestling with Gender: Constructing Masculinity by Not Wrestling Women,” Faculty Workshop, Univ. of Cincinnati College of Law, (Nov. 2011).
    • Presenter, Joint Program on the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, (Jan. 2012).
    • Presenter, “Wrestling with Gender: Constructing Masculinity by Refusing to Wrestle Women,” Feminist Legal Theory Seminar, Harvard Law School, (Feb. 2012)
    • Lecturer, "Working Hard, Hardly Working: How Misinterpretations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Have Undermined Its Effectiveness,” Littler-Mendelsohn Labor-Employment Law Distinguished Lecture, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, (March 2012).
    • Keynote Address, “Getting (and Staying) in the Game: Title IX and the Women’s Sports Revolution,” 24th Annual Women’s and Gender Studies Conference, University of Indiana, (Apr. 2012).
    • Lecturer, “Title IX at 40: Changes, Challenges, and Champions,” Distinguished Lecture, Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, Univ. of Minnesota, (Apr. 2012).
    • Presenter, “Masculinities in Sport and in Relation to Gender Equality,” Inaugural Conference of the SHARP Center, University of Michigan, (May 2012).

    SSRN Author Page

    News

    Selected Professional Activities

    • Coauthored amici curiae brief in Young v. United Parcel Service Inc., in support of Petitioner, May 10,2013.
    • Author, NCAA Women’s Issues Committee, coauthored model policy and resource guide on coach-athlete relationships: “Staying in Bounds: An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent Inappropriate Relationships Between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department Personnel” (NCAA Pub. 2012).
    • Workshop Leader at NCAA Annual Equity & Inclusion Forum, Bethesda, MD (2011) and New Orleans, LA (2012).

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